|Anand Sharma Addresses National Seminar on Foreign Trade Policy|
|Addressing a National Seminar on Foreign Trade Policy organized by FICCI, here today, the Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma said that “we have persisted in providing a stable policy regime through our Foreign Trade Policy which has provided a measure of confidence and continuity for our exporting community.” Shri Sharma said that new markets have been added in the new Policy. He further said that the domestic procurement process too has been made transparent.|
Continuing on the theme of market diversification, the Minister said “Our exports to Asia, Africa and Latin America last year amounted to US$ 188 billion comprising 62% of total export basket which is indeed a significant development.” This year’s Annual Supplement of FTP has added 14 new markets under different schemes. The extension of interest subvention and the expansion of its coverage has been well received by industry. The extension of zero duty EPCG scheme by another year and the enlargement of its scope has also found resonance as it catalyzes a technological upgradation.
The Minister referred to the objective to double up the trade by 2014. But he also said that the trade deficit is mounting. The Minister continued: “This year the prognosis is not good. Global trade will also shrink by a percentage point.” He further said that they “are not happy with 5.3 percentage growth”, but at the same time added that “we cannot grow in isolation, and cannot decouple ourselves from the developments in other region.”
Speaking about the engagements with Pakistan, Shri Sharma said that they have “took a well-thought out plan with Pakistan… and that in less than a year, things have moved forward a lot.” He also said that India is also working on making South Asian economic integration a reality in the near future. He further said that the time has come when China will be interested in making investments in India, as red tapes and all sorts of bottlenecks have been removed. Shri Sharma said that the National Manufacturing Policy is now in a functional stage and that his ministry envisages of making India a hub of manufacturing in the future. Separate Investment Promotion Board has also been set up.
The members from industry side raised their concerns regarding various facets of the recently-announced Foreign Trade Policy, to which responses were given by Shri Sharma.